Denver Broncos (2-1) at Indianapolis Colts (3-0)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
SERIES: 17th meeting. The Broncos lead the series 11-5, but the Colts have dominated lately. Indianapolis has won five of the last seven meetings counting two blowout playoff wins at the RCA Dome.
PREDICTION: Colts 27-20
KEYS TO THE GAME: With QB Jay Cutler likely to be limited by a sprained ankle, the Broncos must get a huge performance out of RB Travis Henry. Denver doesn't want to put Cutler in the position of being forced to attack the Cover-2 defense, so controlling the ball and keeping the game within one score is critical. ... The Broncos have an Achilles heel -- run defense -- and the Colts will try to exploit it early with RB Joseph Addai. QB Peyton Manning has thrown just one interception this season, but it's tough for any quarterback to make a living working constantly against CBs Champ Bailey and Dre Bly. Denver's front seven better tackle well because the Broncos can't afford to drop an eighth defender into the box.
KEY INJURIES: Broncos: Cutler (ankle) will play, but could be limited; S John Lynch (groin) is questionable and would be replaced by Domonique Foxworth or Curome Cox; OG Ben Hamilton (concussion) still hasn't been medically cleared. Colts LB Rob Morris (strained abdominal muscle) hopes to return after missing two games; LT Tony Ugoh (sprained ankle) is expected to play.
FAST FACTS: Cutler was born in Santa Claus, Ind., 80 miles from Indianapolis. ... Colts WR Reggie Wayne has caught 32 passes for 516 yards and seven touchdowns in seven career games against Denver.
--WR Javon Walker didn't practice for the second straight day because of a sore right knee, the same one he had surgically repaired in 2005. But he said the injury has nothing to do with his ACL, and he said he will play Sunday.
--S John Lynch will test his injured groin in practice on Friday. He was optimistic about his chances of playing, but won't know until he practices.
--QB Jay Cutler is moving well in practice and is not a concern going into Sunday's game. He might be slightly limited with a sprained ankle, but will play.
--RB Mike Bell has been ruled out of Sunday's game because of a concussion. Paul Smith could see a few reps at fullback.
--CB Domonique Foxworth has practiced all week and should play, after missing two games with a sprained ankle. If John Lynch can't play, Foxworth is a prime candidate to replace him at safety.
--WR Roy Hall (shoulder) did not practice Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for the next three weeks. Hall suffered a separated left shoulder in the second quarter of last week's game at Houston.
--OT Tony Ugoh (ankle) has yet to practice this week. Ugoh is recovering from a sprained left ankle suffered in last week's win at Houston. His status for Sunday's game with the Broncos has yet to be determined.
--OG Ryan Lilja (knee) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Lilja incurred a sprained right knee in the win over the Texans last week. His availability for the Houston game has not been determined.
--LB Clint Session (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Session suffered a strained hamstring last week at Houston. His status for Sunday's home game with Denver has yet to be determined.
--CB Marlin Jackson (quad) did not practice Wednesday, but saw limited work on Thursday. Jackson, however, is slated to start Sunday's home game with Denver.
--OT Charlie Johnson (knee) did not practice Thursday. Johnson saw limited work during Wednesday's workout. He returned to the practice field last week after missing the first two regular-season games with a sprained left knee.
--S Bob Sanders was held out of Thursday's practice, as is the team policy for the remainder of the season. Sanders uses the day off to rest old injuries and to keep him fresh for each week's game.
--CB Tim Jennings (knee) returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's workout. Jennings is expected to play this week against Denver.
--LB Rob Morris (abdomen) has seen limited practice Wednesday and Thursday. Morris sat out the Colts' wins over Tennessee and Houston with a strained abdomen muscle. He may be able to play this week against Denver.
--LB Tyjuan Hagler returned to practice on Thursday. Hagler had been given permission to miss Wednesday's workout in order to take care of some personal business.
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley is happy and healthy going into this Sunday's matchup against his former team, Indianapolis.
The Colts cut Stokley in March. He was coming off a ruptured Achilles' tendon injury and was to turn 31 during the offseason.
Stokley found redemption in Denver. He healed very quickly and was ready for the start of training camp. He has been a reliable slot receiver for the Broncos, just like he was for the Colts. He is ready to show the Colts what they gave up on.
"You want to say, hey, I made it back from this injury and you probably didn't think I could make it back," Stokley said.
Stokley has made nine catches for 144 yards. Seven of his catches have been on third down. He can get open against lesser cornerbacks he often matches up against in the slot, and has reliable hands to haul in tough passes, which is why Jay Cutler has been so comfortable with him in key situations.
The Broncos are using three-receiver sets more than they have the past few years, because they didn't have a slot receiver as good as Stokley since Ashley Lelie was backing up Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey in 2003. Stokley still doesn't play all that much, and he has to take advantage of whatever opportunities he gets.
"I know my position, I know my role, being the slot receiver," Stokley said. "I know some games I might only get four plays, some games I might get 40. I have to be prepared for both."
Game Snapshot - Broncos vs. Colts
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